Wide angle for Canon


TPF Noob!
Jan 3, 2009
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Hey everyone. I got into photography last fall, not wanting to throw a bunch of money into a new hobby I picked up an XSi with the kit lens, then to cover a more broad focal range got the cheapo 55-250 afterwards. Fastforward 6 months and I've found something I could very well enjoy the rest of my life :mrgreen: woohoo. Anyhow, I came to the conclusion that I am willing to throw a little bit more cash down for some quality gear. I've been looking into some new glass, and am quite intrigued by the images of landscapes and buildings produced by the higher quality wide angle lenses.

I'm very interested in 2 different lenses at the moment.... the 17-40mm f4L and the 16-35 f2.8L. I've done my research on both of them, and read mixed reviews on both as well. Now I'm looking for an interactive discussion, preferably from people that have used both, or at least one of the products first hand. The first difference between the the 2 is obvious.. price. B&H has the 17-40 at 700 USD and the 16-35 at 1450.. I would love the extra stop to use for shooting a friends concerts ( I know the super wide angle isn't the most conventional for shooting concerts but I feel I could get some great images with it being up front at the shows ) Also another plus, if I'm not mistaken, would be that the lens would tend to be sharper at f4-5.6 due to it being further stopped down from wide open, correct? This would be nice, but I'm not sure if it'd be worth the extra 750 dollars for me. If the 16-35 is superior to the 17-40 I would be willing to pay the extra money, 750 dollars is by no means a small amount to me, but I realize that it would be a purchase that I would use and enjoy for many years to come. I know there is an 18-55mm 2.8 IS and the 10-22mm too, but I would very much like an EF lens as opposed to an EF-S in case I'd upgrade bodies later on.

Sorry for such a long post :p Any discussion on this topic would be greatly appreciated, especially from those who have used both pieces of glass.. aaaaand go.
I looked at many reviews for the 17-40 and the 16-35 before deciding to buy the 17-40. Both are top quality L class lenses according both owner reviews and test reviewers. I couldn't convince myself the one stop of light was worth the extra $700 as that's really the significant difference between the two.

BTW, I had the Sigma 10-20 that I used on my XTi before upgrading and I was always pleased with it. However, after using the 17-40 I can really see the benefit of the higher quality lens.
If you are looking at those 2, I would also suggest that you take a peek at the 17-55 F2.8 IS. Its a great lens even though its not an L. I own L lenses and the quality of this lens is right there with them. It would cover more focal range than both the lenses you mentioned and give you fast glass and IS. Look into it. It also holds its value.
I agree with Tharmsen, rent them and try them. renting these lenses is pretty cheap and could avoid a costly mistake. You cannot go wrong with either lens though!
Keep in mind that neither of those lenses will give you a 'super wide angle' on your camera. 16 or 17mm is only marginally wider than your kit lens at 18mm.

Either of those lenses can capture a 'super wide angle'...but it takes a 35mm film or full frame digital body.

I'm sure you have seen some wide angle examples from those lenses, but to get that same view, you need something in the 10mm range.

The EF-S 10-20mm is a fantastic ultra wide angle lens for your camera...but yes, it's not designed to work with full frame cameras, should you choose to upgrade some day.
Can anyone comment on the Sigma ultra wide vs the Canon? I wouldn't mind going this route just because it may be awhile, if at all, until I upgrade to a FF body. I'd probably more than likely get something along the lines of the x0d series such as a 60d when/if it comes out down the road anyhow. I'd sort of like to stick to Canon I guess though, read some sketchy reviews on the Sigma. :confused:
Adding to the confusion is the fact that the 17-40mm is better at 17mm than the 16-35mm is at 16mm.

At the other end, the 16-35mm wins.

I say the f/2.8 is definitely worth it if you can afford it.

Personally, I went through the same crisis and will be buying the 16-35mm... eventually.

Here's a few things I went through last time:
16-35mm vs 17-40mm - Photo.net Canon EOS Forum
Flickr: Discussing 35mm vs 16-35mm in Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
16-35mm L series vs 17-40mm L series - Canon Digital Photography Forums
Can anyone comment on the Sigma ultra wide vs the Canon?
From what I've heard, the Sigma is pretty good...but not quite as good as the Canon. It is, however, much less expensive, which is why many people go that route.

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